‘God Bless the Broken Road’ filming in West Michigan

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Film approved for funds in accordance with obligation of former film incentive program; high-profile success marks new path for office

LANSING, Mich. – In the tradition of inspiring faith-based dramas, the film “God Bless the Broken Road” begins production this spring and will include filming at the iconic location of Berlin Raceway and throughout Grand Rapids. 

The project is eligible to receive a $2,665,959 incentive from the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office (MFDMO). The incentive amount is based on an estimated total production, post production and publicity and advertising budget of $7,711,238. The film will also hire 92 Michigan workers equating to 20 full-time employees. 

In July of 2015, legislation was signed into law eliminating the program for film and digital media incentives. The incentive agreement for “God Bless the Broken Road” was approved before the legislation took effect.  

“The production provides significant private spending and economic boost in the communities where the film will be shot,” said MFDMO Commissioner, Jenell Leonard.  

“Despite no longer having an incentive program, the MFDMO continually engages filmmakers looking for the diverse locations of Michigan, and assists in expediting the filmmaking process,” she said. “This film highlights the striking beauty and geographical diversity of the West Michigan region.” 

“God Bless the Broken Road” is a film by Michigan director, Harold Cronk. The filmtells the story of a young woman, Amber, who loses her husband during combat in Afghanistan and is left alone to raise their young daughter. The film combines an exploration of faith with country music and stock car racing while offering a tribute to those who serve.   

Last year, MFDMO changed its name to reflect the broader emphasis on education, community outreach and development, and job creation in the digital media industries. Since then, several landmark projects have defined the new direction:  

Partnership with Google on improving computer proficiency 

In a first-ever partnership with Google aimed at increasing awareness of the need to improve computer science proficiency among students, MFDMO has enrolled 80 schools and more than 4,100 students from across the state in “Computer Science First (CS First).” 

The online-based curriculum (offered at no cost) is designed for students in grades 4th-8th to help increase accessibility to a discipline where mastery is a highly marketable skill to current and future job prospects. 

CS First includes support for computer science clubs run by teachers and/or volunteers; flexible program design that fits in-class or after-class requirements; and, eight themed/focus areas, e.g. game design, art, storytelling, fashion/design, music/sound, friends, social media and sports. 

Negotiating production of Comedy Central’s “Detroiters” 

Comedy Central selected Detroit as the backdrop for its upcoming series, “Detroiters,” a comedy series that follows the travails of two small-time advertising men who produce low-budget, off-beat commercials with an eye toward a bigger dream. The series, which filmed a pilot last summer in Detroit, features Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson, both of whom have connections to metro Detroit.  

The TV series, “Detroiters” will not be receiving an incentive, however, the MFDMO collaborated with public and private partners in the City of Detroit to attract the production to – where else? – Detroit. 

Filming is scheduled to begin this summer. 

Mobile tour app to attract ‘film tourists 

The “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” mobile tour app, commissioned by MFDMO became available on the same day as the film debut. Developed by Grand Rapids-based Mutually Human, the app allows movie fans and travel enthusiasts to combine their interests to create a tailored experience shaped by their own, self-guided navigation of locations from the film’s scenes shot in Detroit. 

Recent studies indicate one in five tourists are motivated to visit a location based on their favorite movies and TV programs. Michigan is the first state to develop an app as a way to promote tourism connected to the appeal of a popular film shot within state boundaries. 

New direction 

The new office name, Michigan Film & Digital Media Office, represents a new chapter in the history of the Michigan Film Office, established in 1979 to assist in location scouting and creating a directory of the state’s film community. The office promotes the growth of Michigans film, television, digital media production and other creative industries. 

Beginning in 2008, tax credits were used to lure production companies to the state, and then in 2012, a cash-rebate incentive program was instituted. The incentive program was eliminated in July. 

For more information, please visit Michigan Film Office. 

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.